NBA teams are currently all looking to make major changes. Certain teams believe they can shock the world and end the Golden State Warriors streak as NBA Champions. These organizations must make every possible move to improve before the postseason. Other teams are looking at the league from the complete opposite perspective. The rebuilding franchises will look to make trades in hopes of either adding new young talent or losing more games to get a higher pick in the draft lottery. A current landscape of good teams trading to improve and bad teams looking to tank for the future means trades are more welcomed than ever before.
We will look at some of the realistic situations out there for the short and long-term futures of the league. There are already rumors and speculation going around about what can happen. Some players are on the block this season with certain teams wanting to take the change on them. Others are longer term players on the move as they can be traded in the offseason after this season ends. All these potential moves could help a team out in improving their standing in either contending or rebuilding modes. Find out what changes may take place sooner or later on the business side of the basketball world. These are ten trades that could happen before the upcoming trade deadline and ten that can happen during the summer.
20 This season: Blazers trade for Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony’s NBA future is in doubt after the Houston Rockets decided to stop playing him. The franchise is hoping another team is willing to trade for Anthony, but they seem content just keeping him at home while under contract for the season if no one wants him, given how cheaply he was signed for in the offseason.
One team that could use the help of Anthony is the Portland Trail Blazers. Both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum campaigned for Anthony before he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Portland is off to a great start, but they lack capable wing players and bench scoring to become a threat. The unpredictable nature of adding Anthony would be worth the risk if it pays off.
19 Offseason: Suns trade for Kevin Love
The Phoenix Suns are currently the only truly bad team in the Western Conference as almost every other squad is within a few games of the playoff picture. Despite this disappointment, the Suns have a bright future ahead of them with talented pieces like Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, among others.
Another team doing poorly and looking to rebuild is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They already regret signing Kevin Love to a max contract extension upon realizing how bad they would become without LeBron James. Phoenix will be able to land love without giving up much due to the contract. The Suns could have a core of Love, Booker, Ayton and a top lottery pick after next summer.
18 This season: Bucks trade for J.R. Smith
The Cleveland Cavaliers have decided to send J.R. Smith home while waiting on a potential trade. Smith is no longer in the Cavaliers’ future as they are playing younger talent. Smith's public issues with their tanking also hurt his standing with the organization.
Cleveland is hoping a team will want to take the chance on Smith by the deadline. The Milwaukee Bucks could use another shooting guard off the bench, along with some veteran experience. Smith gets mocked for some of his bad plays, but he played a huge role in the Cavaliers winning the 2016 NBA Championship. Milwaukee could use a player like him for depth come playoff time.
17 Offseason: Pistons trade for Goran Dragic
The Detroit Pistons are trying to make noise in the Eastern Conference after a great start to the season. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin both are playing like superstars in the frontcourt. The problem is the Pistons lack the playmaking at every other position in the lineup.
Reggie Jackson is the third-best player on the team, but he does not compare to the majority of starting point guards on winning teams. Detroit will likely want to upgrade in the offseason. The Miami Heat will be looking to make drastic changes after Dwyane Wade retires to start a new chapter. Goran Dragic is an All-Star caliber point guard that could end up being traded to the Pistons to help improve their roster.
16 This season: Celtics trade for Zach Randolph
The Sacramento Kings are not playing veteran Zach Randolph. Young players are getting the playing time as the Kings hope to figure out which pieces are worth investing in for the long-term future. Randolph is expected to either get waived or get put on the trading block before the deadline.
One team that could use another big man on their bench is the Boston Celtics. They lack a credible big man off the bench. Kyrie Irving also has made complaints that the team needs a respected veteran in the locker room. Randolph fits the bill on both counts and could be acquired for as cheap a price as a second-round draft pick.
15 Offseason: Clippers trade for Marc Gasol
The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a great start, but most pundits don’t expect it to last. A few players have stepped up as potential pieces for their future. Tobias Harris is the only one that seems more than likely to get a long-term offer as the Clippers want bigger names.
The center position is where the Clippers currently lack at, considering how the past-his-prime Marcin Gortat is starting. Marc Gasol may be on the trade block after recent years of frustration with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies could get a talented young player like Montrezl Harrell in exchange for the Clippers adding a superstar. Gasol would tempt players like Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard to give them a chance.
14 This season: Hornets trade for Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez is one of the centers that will be on the trade block for contending teams needing a big man. The Chicago Bulls will likely give away Lopez for a pittance since he doesn’t fit into their plans and would just sit on their bench.
Kemba Walker is leading the Charlotte Hornets to a potential playoff spot, but the roster has nothing else going for it. A player like Lopez would at least add more depth at the center position. Charlotte doesn’t have much to offer, so they must acquire players on the cheap at the deadline like Lopez.
13 Offseason: Warriors trade for Harrison Barnes
Most NBA pundits are starting to feel the momentum of Kevin Durant preparing to leave the Golden State Warriors in the upcoming offseason. Draymond Green even brought it up in the locker room when verbally ripping apart Durant.
We are going under the assumption that Durant leaves the Warriors to start the next chapter of his career. Golden State will likely use most of that money to offer Draymond and Klay Thompson long-term max contracts. They’ll have to add another player at a cheaper price to fill Durant’s spot. Former Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes will be available. The Warriors can bring him back for cheap on a sign and trade deal with the Dallas Mavericks. He already knows how to play in the system.
12 This season: Rockets trade for Joe Harris and Kenneth Faried
The Houston Rockets are off to a disappointing start. Many fans assumed Houston would once again emerge as the top team to oppose the Golden State Warriors. Instead, they currently sit outside of the playoff picture after almost two months of action.
Houston management has already revealed they plan to make moves by the deadline. The problem is they have nothing noteworthy to offer. Role players will be their best bet of adding talent. The Brooklyn Nets have a great three-point shooter in Joe Harris and a talented rebounder in Kenneth Faried. Brooklyn not contending means they’ll be more likely to add the depth in exchange for a draft pick or cash.
11 Offseason: Heat trade for Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker’s future is in doubt as he enters free agency in the offseason. The Charlotte Hornets have never been able to become contenders with Walker leading the way. NBA pundits are seeing Walker play the best basketball of his career.
Walker is going to have to decide if he wants to play with a mediocre squad for the foreseeable future or play for a team with a higher upside. The Miami Heat are a franchise every team takes seriously. Following another first-round exit, Walker will want a change. Miami would need a sign-and-trade. Charlotte could get a few young pieces to build around and lose Walker respectfully.
10 This season: Pelicans trade for Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin
The New Orleans Pelicans are trying desperately to have a good run in hopes of impressing Anthony Davis. Every Pelicans fan is fearing the potential heartbreak of Davis demanding a trade as recently as the upcoming offseason.
New Orleans is limited in their potential moves, but they will try to improve the roster at the deadline. The Atlanta Hawks have two players that could help with the Pelicans’ weaknesses. Jeremy Lin is playing well and could compete with the oft-injured Elfrid Payton for starting minutes at point guard. Kent Bazemore could start at small forward with his impressive defense and solid scoring. These two noteworthy veteran additions could come for one draft pick, given Atlanta is tanking.
9 Offseason: Mavs trade for Kristaps Porzingis
The New York Knicks are willing to do anything to get star players in the offseason. Kevin Durant is one player that is reportedly curious about joining the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis is the best player currently on the team, but injury issues and potential fears of his future have hurt his relationship with the franchise.
The Knicks have discussed trading Porzingis the past two summers before giving up on that idea. Porzingis being traded to a team like the Dallas Mavericks could land the Knicks the point guard they would desperately need if Durant signs. Dallas would likely part with Dennis Smith Jr. for a chance at Porzingis. This could be an interesting trade of potential future stars for both teams.
8 This season: Spurs trade for Wesley Matthews
Things look awful for the San Antonio Spurs to start the season. Despite DeMar DeRozan playing well, the Spurs have taken a huge step back as they try to avoid falling out of the playoff picture. San Antonio has weaker depth than past seasons and lacks the experience.
Wesley Matthews is one available wing player that can shoot from deep and add the veteran presence. San Antonio could easily slot him into the lineup or make him their top scorer off the bench. Dallas would be willing part with Matthews for cheap since he is not a part of their long-term future.
7 Offseason: Nets trade for Andrew Wiggins
Two teams with a potential huge offseason coming up are the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves. Brooklyn has a lot of cap space and wants to add a player with at least potential to become a superstar. Meanwhile, Minnesota is starting to lose faith in Andrew Wiggins as he appears to regress.
If the Nets can’t add a star in free agency, they may look to the trade block to add a player like Wiggins. D’Angelo Russell could be a piece that ends up on the trade block if Brooklyn doesn’t want to commit to him in the long term. The Timberwolves would get a fresh start at a new young core while the Nets could build around Wiggins, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.
6 This season: Thunder trade for Courtney Lee
Most of the players that will get traded this season are veterans on bad teams. New York Knicks player Courtney Lee is an underrated shooting guard that can hit open shots and play hard defense. Many teams would love to add depth to their roster with such a player available for cheap.
The Oklahoma City Thunder would be an ideal team to add a player like Lee. Dennis Schroder is better utilized as a super sixth man off the bench. Lee could slot into the starting lineup as the shooting guard, easily beating out the offensively limited Andre Roberson and Terrance Ferguson. Oklahoma City would benefit immensely from having another credible player in the rotation.
5 Offseason: Lakers trade for Kawhi Leonard
The Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the most interesting teams to keep track of in the offseason. The fact they have many young assets on the roster, with LeBron James as the only player with a max contract means they could make trades for two huge stars if need be.
The young players are failing to break out and will likely be offered for the right talent. Kawhi Leonard reportedly had the Lakers at the top of his last this past offseason before getting traded to the Toronto Raptors. Despite the Raptors looking great, they likely won’t win a title this season. Leonard could find his dream situation on the Lakers more appealing. A sign-and-trade would allow the Lakers to give Leonard a max extension while the Raptors could get Brandon Ingram, among others.
4 This season: 76ers trade for Trevor Ariza and Jamal Crawford
The biggest trade to happen already may be the biggest deal of the summer. Jimmy Butler joining the Philadelphia 76ers gave the talented young team a respected closer and established superstar. Philadelphia did lose depth when adding Butler but losing both Dario Saric and Robert Covington.
Most pundits expect the 76ers to trade Markelle Fultz for a proven player that can help them get stronger come playoff time. Trevor Ariza and Jamal Crawford are two veterans on one-year deals that have no business on the Phoenix Suns past the deadline. Phoenix could add Fultz as they desperately need a point guard. Ariza would get slotted into the 76ers starting lineup and Crawford could be used off the bench in big games.
3 Offseason: Magic trade for John Wall
The Washington Wizards are arguably in the worst position in the entire NBA right now. Washington gave max contracts to three young talents in John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. All three have moments of greatness, but the team continues to lose. The ship has failed on the Wizards contending.
Expect the Wizards to completely blow up the roster in the offseason. Wall has a massive contract and only a desperate team will take the chance on him. The Orlando Magic have a talented roster, but they lack the point guard needed to even think about contending. Wall joining the Magic would make them a lower tier playoff East team with the potential to move up.
2 This season: Lakers trade for Bradley Beal
The star most likely to get traded from the Washington Wizards this season is Bradley Beal. More teams will be interested in Beal than other superstars on the market due to his young age of 25. The Los Angeles Lakers stand out as the perfect team to add Beal.
Three-point shooting is Beal’s greatest strength and the Lakers biggest weakness. LeBron James clearly needs a second superstar with no one emerging. A swap of Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart for Beal could be enough if the Wizards are rebuilding and looking for young prospects. Beal would also take his game to another level, with LeBron getting him open shots.
1 Offseason: Celtics trade for Anthony Davis
The biggest realistic name on the trade block in the summer of 2019 could be Anthony Davis. It seems more than likely that the New Orleans Pelicans will get eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs at best. Davis playing so well and failing to contend for a title could lead to him demanding a trade on the final year of his contract.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers will be the teams in best positions to land Davis. Boston happens to have more young prospects and future draft picks at their disposal. Jayson Tatum is more valuable than anyone the Lakers would offer. Boston has been dreaming of adding Davis for many years now and may have the chance this upcoming offseason.